The Toronto Maple Leafs select Morgan Rielly with the 5th overall selection.
Here’s the scoop on Rielly:
A strong, athletic, offensive-minded defenseman who is an elite level skater. He possesses a great first few steps and strong lateral mobility. He is able to turn on a dime to break down a defender or to escape a powerful forecheck. Uses his smooth, wide skating stride as he rushes the puck up ice or even end-to-end. He’s a great puck mover and makes a grade ‘A’ first pass. He uses his skills on the powerplay well and has shown the ability to anticipate when to send a backdoor pass and when to hold onto the puck. He plays the blue line well on the powerplay, has excellent patience and can play either point. He plays with his head up, looking around, and has a good first step. He is calm with the puck, has good hockey sense and can get the puck on net through traffic. He has a good outlet tape-to-tape pass, and can play big minutes. Defensively he has a good stick, gets it into lanes and seems to have a longer reach than you would expect a player of his height to have.
Here’s what one of our scouts said:
“Rielly is a solid puck-moving defenseman who was showing great growth defensively before suffering a serious knee injury in early November. He skates very well, is a great passer, reads the play well and is a wizard with the puck; probably the best offensive defenseman in the draft this year.”